June 19: After years of selling prints online, in local stores like Atticus Coffee & Gifts, and setting up pop-up shops in the Northwest Inland, Chris Bovey is bringing Vintage Print to the Garland District.
Making the leap from online sales to brick and mortar at a time when brick-and-mortar stores are closing left and right might seem too risky to most. But for Bovey? It was the right time.
“It’s kind of like being a parent, you’re never really ready,” Bovey said.
However, he decided that if he could find a place in the Garland district, the universe would tell him to jump.
He contacted Katherine Fritchie, owner of the Garland Theater and other buildings on the block. Excited by the prospect of bringing Bovey to the neighborhood, Fritchie showed him a space two doors from the theater. He had been keeping the building vacant for years, looking for the right tenant.
“Then I came,” said Bovey.
“One of the reasons I wanted to bring Chris up there is that I really want to support the arts – it’s so important to me,” Fritchie said. “It’s a great little neighborhood and … I think Chris is going to be really successful.
“For one thing, Chris has a very good following and I think it is important to increase the road traffic in the Garland area. It will really help bring more people and a vibrancy to the neighborhood that … the Garland area needs the most. . I hope that in the future we will be able to support more artistic activities. “
Bovey shared his plans for the shop and Fritchie kept saying yes.
“She was the best hostess in the world,” he said. “With any new adventure like this, she’s terrifying. But she guided me through my fears. She wants more for this neighborhood and she knows (I’m) the right person to do it.”
At 914 W Garland Ave., in the old Cooney Law Office building, Bovey’s store will take design inspiration from stores like Hatch Show Print in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to Bovey signature prints in an ever-growing variety of media, the store will offer visitors the opportunity to print the designs of their choice.
Over the years, Bovey has been able to expand organically and incrementally, first with prints, then gradually adding clothing, accessories and an ever-expanding list of items.
When asked about Bovey, Terrain Executive Director Ginger Ewing said the biggest mistake most artists make as they change their approach to sales is accepting too much, too soon.
“He’s been able to learn as he goes, and be very smart about the choices he makes, and he’s created a really good foundation for himself,” Ewing said of Bovey. “Also … the irony of it all is that in that process he became an icon by celebrating icons in our city.”
Bovey’s work, said Melissa Huggins, executive director of Spokane Arts, has made him an icon beyond the local art world.
“People recognize his work … in the wider community,” he said. “He’s always exploring new things, and I think it’s so important not only to grow as an artist, but also to maintain a brick and mortar shop … You always have to freshen up and reinvent and … changing with the times … that you it suits well.
“It makes absolutely sense for him to switch to brick and mortar.”
For Bovey, the move isn’t just about sales.
“One of the great things I want to do is bring families back to the Garland neighborhood,” he said, explaining his plans to offer another space for families to be together.
“And that’s exactly what Spokane needs most in terms of cultural spaces,” said Huggins. “When (Spokane Arts has) a booth at community festivals … we get questions from people who are basically like, ‘I want to take my kids to do arts activities. Where do we go and what do we do?’
“Spokane needs spaces … where people can go, experiment and feel something, and we need them all over the city, right? We can’t have those spaces just downtown, they have to be in other neighborhoods too.”
With the renovations just starting, Bovey hopes to open the shop in late summer and early fall.